Earlier in the week a story was circulating that claimed Max Verstappen had responded to Villeneuve’s Spa criticism with the words “He [Villeneuve] should be careful with his statements because he has already killed someone.” That response from the youngster would have more than harsh, even if Villeneuve can run his mouth a bit…
— Autosport (@autosport) September 3, 2016
It turns out that the comment was lost in translation and Verstappen has pretty much clarified that he won’t be giving interviews with the publisher again. The word “doodgereden” was the word that was mistranslated into the sensationalist accusation. The publication in question took the word to mean “he killed someone” when Verstappen was actually mentioning fatal accidents in a broader sense. The Dutch driver said,
“Not everything was written down on one website what I said. To be clear, I said that it was disrespectful to the families to talk about deaths.
I was referring to the incidents that happened in 2001. But they didn’t write down my ‘disrespect’ to the family remarks. So it was not that I was picking on the family, I said it was disrespectful from his side to comment about that.
I didn’t say ‘death by driving’… I said it was a deadly accident.”
– Max Verstappen
— Motorsport.com (@Motorsport) August 30, 2016
At a time where the driver was under the microscope after his questionable defending at Spa, being misinterpreted probably just adds salt to the wound. It was likely that Verstappen was still racing around Spa-Francorchamps when camera’s and press-crews were busy trying to found loudmouth and post-race-driver super cynic Villeneuve for a heated opinion. They probably just followed the soundscape of vitriolic criticism to find the Canadian.
Villeneuve was very damning of Max, he said,
“The start is racing. It’s too much, but it’s racing. Because every expert driver, that’s like GP2, you know that if you go to inside there will be an incident, because there is not enough room. You know it.
Mostly if you had a bad start, just accept it. But that is not what’s bad. It’s after that, he complains about other drivers: ‘They destroyed my race’.
Relax, relax. You know you took a big risk and it did not pay off. You destroyed their race and you destroyed your own race. That’s fine. That’s life.
But what he did afterwards that’s not acceptable. What he did to Kimi twice on the straight, and to Vettel as well. Just calm down. You’re going to kill someone.”
Verbal diarrhea of the highest order. Most agree that turn one was a racing incident, least of all the fault of Verstappen. Villeneuve isn’t at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, so the paddock may basque in the aura of tranquility and good vibes.